De Guzman offers help to LGUs in addressing climate change woes

Secretary Emmanuel M. De Guzman of the Climate Change Commission (CCC) has offered assistance to local government units (LGUs) in Ilocos Norte in crafting their Local Climate Change Adaptation Plan (LCCAP) in order to address the adverse effects of climate change (CC) that are becoming worse annually.


LCCAP is a document crafted and designed by LGUs regarding climate change adaptation plans in their locality as defined in Republic Act 9729 or the Climate Change Act of 2009. The law requires that all LGUs shall be the frontline agencies in the formulation, planning and implementation of climate change action plans in their respective areas, consistent with the provisions of the Local Government Code and the National Climate Change Action Plan.


In his message delivered by Atty. Efren MG Bascos, legal officer of CCC, to the representatives of LGUs in Region 1 during the 3rd National Panel of Technical Experts (NPTE) forum held at MMSU Teatro Ilocandia last April 3, De Guzman challenged the LGUs to immediately draft their LCCAP and implement measures that build on and enhance their communities’ resilience to climate change.


De Guzman said his call should be treated with urgency amid looming predictions by many Filipino scientists that major CC impacts would be felt in various sectors in the country in the near future.


“With businesses as usual coupled with the inaction of various sectors, scientists have foreseen major climate catastrophes that could happen in the country,” he said.


The Secretary said 98 percent of coral reefs will surely die by 2050 and extinction will happen by the end of the century. Going through in the same scenario, is the predicted 50 percent decline of fish harvest, the P26 billion average agriculture losses per year, and the 50 percent increase of food prices.


As a result of this predicament, De Guzman said about “1.4 million Filipinos will start to go hungry by 2030 and 2.5 million more by 2050.”


De Guzman said that high temperatures caused by CC  is triggering the surge of diseases in the country such as dengue, malaria, cholera, and typhoid fever; and that climate change-induced heat in work places, too, is rendering 10 percent loss in working hours.


“Given this outlook, there is no other solution but to act now,” De Guzman said, adding that his agency is offering help to LGUs in addressing climate change in the field of adaptation and mitigation.


Heeding to the Secretary’s warning, Batac City Vice Mayor Jeoffrey Nalupta said that “since these will happen with great probability, we will experience worse scenarios if we remain deaf and blind to these realities.”


Nalupta lamented that water scarcity in Batac and in other municipalities of the province is a big problem, thus, most farmers are spending much on fuels and electricity for irrigation to keep their crops in shape until harvesting.


“The bottomline of these are reduced production yields, increased production cost, higher risk to damages and losses of agricultural infrastructure and crops, lost capital, and unsteady income, among others,” Nalupta said.


Nalupta challenged other LGU leaders in Region 1 to take Sec. De Guzman’ words seriously as he described the 1,200 small farm reservoirs (SFR) that the Batac City government built in various rural barangays of the city. At present, there are now six small water impounding projects (SWIPS) that the city government built in areas validated by the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) to be feasible.


Meanwhile, the NPTE forum of the CCC aimed to create an avenue for knowledge sharing on climate change-related issues among scientists, members of the academe, and to government and non-government agencies.


The NPTE theme, “Water security in the midst of climate change,” is timely considering the vulnerability of the region to drought and desertification brought about by CC.